Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Our first stop this week is Alabama, where the Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that would revamp the state’s medical marijuana program.  This is only a preliminary step on the road to passage, of course; both chambers must approve the legislation and the governor must sign it for the measure to become law.

Another state looking at the idea of increasing its medical marijuana program is Texas.  A new array of conditions would qualify a patient to obtain CBD oil.

In Louisiana meanwhile, sales of medical cannabis could begin as early as next month.  And LSU’s Manship School of of Mass Communications reports a new survey shows 55% of state residents support legalizing recreational marijuana.

In New England, Vermont’s move towards legalizing adult-use sales has hit a snag.  The governor is of the opinion that he should have more power over the panel charged with regulating the industry.

Even once a state has legalized recreational sales, that doesn’t mean legal issues don’t crop up.  In California, illegal dispensaries are a problem, and Los Angeles has filed its first civil suit.

So what’s happening on the federal level?  You may recall from an earlier column that the Mayor of Denver expressed concern about immigrants in the marijuana industry being denied citizenship.  Apparently, he was right to be concerned.  U.S.C.I.S. just released new guidance stating that those involved in the cannabis industry fail to show “good moral character.”

One person who’s optimistic about marijuana’s chances on the federal level is Rep. Earl Blumenauer (D-Or.).  A long time supporter of legal cannabis, Blumenauer predicts that the SAFE Act will pass the House and that Congress will look at re-scheduling cannabis this year.

And the latest in our “Where Do the Candidates Stand on Marijuana” update is Newsweek’s rundown of all the current candidates’ positions.  Of course, former Vice President Biden’s entry into the race means they’ll have to issue an update.

Finally, how do you know something has moved from the shadows to the mainstream?  When corporations start cashing in on it.

That’s all for this week – see you next Friday.

Last month, a Hawaii federal district court judge denied an employer’s motion to dismiss an applicant’s claim for disability discrimination under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) where the employer merely assumed that an applicant who admitted to having a medical marijuana card was a current marijuana user and would fail a drug test.   Continue Reading Possession of a Medical Marijuana Card Doesn’t Necessarily Prove Current Drug Use

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Beginning our coverage in Texas, the city of Dallas will no longer be prosecuting low-level first time cannabis offenders.  And any pending cases will be dismissed.

Moving on to Georgia, we have an update on our earlier coverage.  The Governor has signed a bill lifting the ban on medical marijuana cultivation.

The news for proponents of medical cannabis in Tennessee was not so rosy.  Three bills were defeated in the legislature there.

But supporters of medical marijuana can take heart at news from Montana, where the House passed a bill that would ease restrictions on patients.  The bill now moves to the Senate.

And here’s the latest in our series, “Politicians Now Supporting Marijuana.”  Although former Vermont governor, Howard Dean, had previously opposed legalizing cannabis, he’s now a fan.  Joining the board of a cannabis company can have that effect.

Turning our attention to the federal government, Treasury Secretary Mnuchin recently showed support for a fix to the issue of cannabis (lack of) banking.  Regular readers will doubtless recall that Attorney General Barr expressed a similar view last week.  One more cabinet member, and it’s a thing!

As if to prove the need for banking reform,  a Florida bank has cut ties with a medical marijuana business association.   The association’s executive director predicts the bank will solicit their business in future, should the laws change.

Rep. Greg Steube (R. Fla.) introduced a bill that would allow veterans to use marijuana in states where it is legal without fear of losing their benefits.  The “Veterans Cannabis Use for Safe Healing Act” has bipartisan support.

And finally, we have two articles on the “lighter” side of the marijuana news.  First, Carl’s Jr. will be offering a CBD burger on 4/20.  I’m hoping they’ll call it a “Devil’s Lettuce” burger. And in news about our neighbor to the north, has legalization of cannabis in Canada made it, well, boring?

That’s it for this week; see you next Friday!

 

Although New Mexico has had a medical marijuana law in place since 2007, it did not contain protections for job applicants and employees. However, all of that changed on April 4, 2019 when New Mexico Governor Grisham signed Senate Bill 406, which amends the Lynn and Erin Compassionate Use Act (the “Act”) to include changes that will impact New Mexico employers and their consideration and treatment of individuals using medical marijuana. Continue Reading New Mexico Just Became Employee-Friendly to Medical Marijuana Users

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

The big news this week was the re-introduction of the STATES Act.  The bill would protect marijuana businesses and consumers in states where it is legal, and in what is a rarity in our increasingly partisan era, the legislation was introduced by a Democrat and a Republican in both the House and Senate.  In addition, Attorney General William Barr has indicated that he supports it, saying the current federal-state law conflict is intolerable.

In an update from our story in last week’s WIW, the New Hampshire House has voted to legalize recreational cannabis.  The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.  Don’t think the Granite State will be the next state to all adult-use marijuana, however; Governor Chris Sununu has promised to veto the legislation.

In other state news, a bill to legalize recreational cannabis has died in Florida, without so much as a hearing.  However, the state’s Department of Agricultural and Consumer Services has finalized rules for licensing growers to produce medical marijuana edibles.

The New York City Council has passed a bill that would prohibit pre-employment drug testing for cannabis.  See our take on this issue here.

The mayor of Denver, Michael Hancock, is asking the Trump administration to re-think its immigration policies.  He is concerned that legal immigrants are being passed over for citizenship because they work in the marijuana industry.

And if you think you’re seeing a lot of advertising for CBD products, you’re not wrong.  Going forward, however, you may see fewer of those ads.  The Food and Drug Administration has sent warning letters to three companies, alerting them to the fact that they are in violation of federal law.

That’s it for this week – see you next Friday!

While it has been a challenge for employers to keep up with the explosion of medical and recreational marijuana laws spreading across the nation, employers have taken some comfort in that most of these states still grant employers the right to maintain a drug-free workplace and take action against those who test positive for marijuana. Yet, the tide seems to be shifting, with more courts granting pot smokers certain rights and finding that employers are required to comply with federal and state disability laws when confronted with medical marijuana users. Now it seems states and localities are stepping in and granting certain employment protections to recreational marijuana users. As we previously reported here, effective February 1, 2018, Maine became the first state in the country to protect employees and applicants from adverse employment action based on their use of off-duty and off-site marijuana. In fact, because Maine only allows employers to prohibit the use and possession of marijuana “in the workplace” and to “discipline employees who are under the influence of marijuana in the workplace,” non-regulated employers may no longer test job applicants for marijuana and cannot take action against an incumbent employee based solely on a positive test result for marijuana. Continue Reading NYC One Step Away From Banning Pre-Employment Marijuana Tests

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

Our weekly review starts in Georgia, where the governor is expected to sign a medical marijuana reform bill into law.  The law will allow grow houses and production facilities in the state, which will be heavily regulated.

Moving up the East Coast, you will doubtless recall that last week, New Jersey did not legalize recreational cannabis. Now the Governor is saying that he will expand the state’s medical marijuana program if adult-use marijuana is not legalized by May.

And in New England, Connecticut has taken the first step towards legalization.  The General Law Committee has passed a bill that would establish a marijuana industry in the state.  In New Hampshire, a legalization bill is making its way through the legislature.  As The Week in Weed went to press (went to post?) the state House was scheduled to vote on recreational cannabis.

But it’s not all good news for cannabis proponents.  In Montana, legislators defeated a bill that would have legalized recreational marijuana.  You win some; you lose some.

Meanwhile, it’s all system go for legalization in Guam, as the governor signed a recreational marijuana bill into law.

In federal news, a Colorado congresswoman has introduced a bill that would prevent the federal government from taking action against cannabis businesses in states where the drug is legal.  And the Food and Drug Administration will be holding hearings on CBD at the end of May.

That’s it for this week – see you next Friday!

The New Jersey Court of Appeals revived a funeral director’s medical marijuana discrimination suit in Wild v. Carriage Funeral Holdings, Inc., Case No. A-3072-17T3. There, the funeral director was involved in a workplace accident. The director told the hospital that he was authorized to use medical marijuana. The employer fired the funeral director. The funeral director’s supervisor told him it was because of his medical marijuana use but the employer stated that the director was fired because he failed to comply with the Company’s policy which required employees to inform their supervisor if they are taking medications that could alter their ability to perform their duties. The director argued that his termination was unlawful under the State’s discrimination law even though the medical marijuana act did not afford him protection. Continue Reading NJ Medical Pot User’s Case Not Up In Smoke: Accommodations Might Be Required Despite Weed Statutes Saying Otherwise

Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana.

No news is big news this week, as New Jersey failed to pass legislation legalizing recreational marijuana.  You’re spoiled for choice when it comes to news coverage; see for example, here, here and here.

It’s not just in New Jersey that setbacks to legalization happened this week.  In New York, all eyes have turned to the legislature, as the executive budget will not include legalization.  In Illinois, just over half of the state’s House of Representatives have co-sponsored a resolution that would slow down the legalization process.  And in Rhode Island, a legalization plan received some strong pushback in a Senate committee hearing.

On the other hand, some states moved in the opposite direction. Connecticut has voted a legalization bill out of a House committee; a bi-partisan group of Alabama legislators is sponsoring a medical cannabis bill and North Dakota is making progress on expanding its quite restrictive medical marijuana program.

The breaking news on the federal level is that the SAFE Banking Act has been approved by the House Financial Services Committee (45-15) and will now move to the full House for consideration.

In other marijuana banking news,  an Illinois Senate panel advanced a bill that would prohibit penalizing or dissuading banks and credit unions from doing business with the cannabis industry.  And in West Virginia, the governor has signed a medical marijuana banking bill.  Note: the governor emphasizes that he is still vehemently opposed to recreational cannabis, just so you know.

In the world of retail, both CVS and Walgreens will now be selling CBD products in their stores.

Finally, if you’re confused about how New Jersey just shot down recreational marijuana and Alabama looks poised to legalize medical cannabis, check out this article, with a handy chart to help you keep track of which red, blue or purple states are also green.

See you next week!